Kilimanjaro Top Tips from ATC’s Travel Expert Liz Weselby

April 21, 2016

Kilimanjaro Top Tips from ATC’s Travel Expert Liz Weselby

An avid fitness enthusiast, runner and hiker, ATC’s travel expert Liz Weselby has in the last five years trekked Kilimanjaro and completed three Oxfam Trailwalker 100km hikes in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Melbourne. She’s attempting her fourth in Sydney in August 2016.

Liz climbed Kilimanjaro with a team from Ink Publishing in 2013. Here she shares three of her top tips for conquering the mountain.

  1. Keeping warm

    It’s cold. Bloody cold. As thin-blooded Singapore dweller I hadn’t ever experienced cold quite like it – imagine being trapped in a freezer, buffeted by a wind machine and you’re almost there. Thankfully if you follow the kit list to the tee you’ll be equipped to stay warm. I highly recommend investing in a Rab down jacket, which is lightweight, rolls up small and makes a toasty difference when the Celsius drops. Uniglo’s hi-tech thermals are excellent and good value – you only need a few sets as you won’t be showering or getting close to anyone on the mountain. Pick up a 100% silk liner for your sleeping bag and try if you can to sleep in the buff – if you wear clothes and sweat, that then turns cold and you get a chill (although the downside of this is having to get dressed if needing to dash to the loo). One of the best pieces of kit I took was a small hot water bottle, which I tucked at the bottom of my bag – if you’re feet are warm, everything else stays warm.

  2. Food

    Food on the mountain is generally good and I was constantly surprised by the variety and quality of the meals. That said as the days go on and fresh ingredients run out it gets a little bland and basic – Tabasco was our flavour saviour, so take a bottle. If you’re a coffee snob like me, consider packing your own travel plunger and bag of java as they only pour instant; likewise if you’re partial to a certain type of tea. And pack plenty of your favourite snacks – I decantered trail mix, chocolate, dried mango into small bags to graze on as I hiked. Altitude will affect your appetite, and eating might be the last thing you feel like doing but you need the energy. If it’s a food you love, it’s easier to force yourself.

  3. Mind matter

    It’s a cliché, but conquering Kilimanjaro really is all in the mind. I was reasonably fit but summiting the mountain was 10% physical ability and 90% mental fortitude. A useful tip shared with me before our climb was to have a mantra – be it your own personal motto or one you borrow and this proved invaluable on summit night. Telling myself ‘with every step I take, I get a step stronger’ over and again as I slowly crawled up the final, steep and icy stretch in pitch darkness seriously helped me focus. And speaking of slowly, heed the advice to pole pole it’s crucial to adjust to the altitude gradually and will make all the difference to you completing the climb or not.
Liz is the Editorial Director, LUXE City Guides based in Hong Kong LUXE City Guides are the stylish pocket travel guides and mobile apps packed with astute, opinionated information for sophisticated travellers. For more than a decade they’ve long been the trusted go-to source for highly curated, ultra-researched travel and lifestyle information.

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